I'm Chris Roberts, creator of Wing Commander and Star Citizen. AMA!
Hello Reddit! Six months ago, you were instrumental in helping crowd fund Star Citizen, my return to space simulators and PC gaming. My team at Cloud Imperium has been busy and today I'd like to answer any questions you have about the game! Several of Star Citizen's designers will also be helping field questions.
We would consider in game advertising that made thematic sense - for instance the use of Coke in Blade Runner made the future world more "real". Or Pan Am in 2001. So if there were some brands that wanted to have a future version of themselves in 2942 we would consider it but only if it felt right (as in the company would be a galactic brand int he future)
What about in game advertising for companies and groups that exist only in the SC universe?
That will definitely be part of the game play / universe - both for NPC corps and player controlled corps / factories.
Hey Chris, I have some absentee questions from the folks over at r/starcitizen Here's the thread with all the questions
*MarshallUberSwagga: Will it be possible to have multiple people owning a single ship? For example if me and some of my buddies all chipped in from separate accounts to buy a ship?
Fenixx117Rear Admiral 8 points 2 days ago This game will be all about immersion, how will stealth and guile work out? Will players be able to shut down all nonessential systems of a ship and drift through the void to escape a pirate's scanners? Will there be a complex system of identification and comm transmission hacking that allow you to disguise your ships' name, serial number, port of registry or owner? Any thoughts or future plans would be great. Thanks E: how will players learn new skills and trades if not in RPG fashion. Will tutorials and mini games like hacking or learning to trade/manufacture be a major component? Skills everyone can learn but will be hard to truly master. Edit again: I payed a lot of money for my pledge. Once CI is up and running smoothly, will there be another round of cards? I don't want to be punished for not knowing about this game until after the deadline
*ThrashyBounty Hunter 5 points 2 days ago I've got a couple: 1: Chris has mentioned in other interviews that he intends for NPC agents to be major economic players in the persistent universe, and that player activity would simply displace some percentage of the NPC market. I'm curious to know if this system will be set up to allow or prevent a player or players from manipulating the market significantly -- say, by "cornering the market" on a given commodity, interfering with a product's production, etc. Or even on a less nefarious level, will player action en masse be able to swing prices significantly, as when a flavor-of-the-month ship or weapon comes into demand? Or will NPC buyers and sellers have enough volume to keep prices and supply fairly stable? 2: At SXSW, Chris mentioned the idea that, in addition to interacting with the cockpit, head tracking could play a part in the single-player conversation system, but how far does integration of VR peripherals like the Rift and the Leap Motion go in multiplayer? Will head and arm tracking get translated into character animation that other players can see? It'd be amazing if, while in a bar planetside, I could catch the attention of another patron with a glance and a nod, or give hand signals to squad mates in the cockpit or during a boarding action.
*AngryT-RexBounty Hunter 5 points 1 day ago Just chiming in: It'd be cool to have these (or at least the most interesting dozen or so) stuck into a list and actually sent to him before the AMA. Since I imagine he'll be pretty busy during the AMA, and it'd be nice for him to be able to have real follow-up conversations regarding answers that he gives, it might be nice for him to just knock out a few answers to some of these ahead of time. On the other hand I guess we shouldn't impose too much on his time, but whatever, if we send them in early he can always just ignore them till AMA time if he wants.
*TalismanG1Bounty Hunter 4 points 2 days ago 1)what sort of control schemes will be implemented? I know that gamepad is a viable option but what about Mouse aiming modes like in Warthunder? 2) economy is supposed to be dynamic, but how do people find the best prices? Will we have to go to each and every planet o find the best buys? On another note, how will player trade work ( Player to Player). Will it be a bartering system with recommended prices? 3) How exactly will jump-points work? We have limited knowledge on how the work ingame. Is there the possibility of incorrect entry, causing damage? 4) How many ships are you planning on eventually? What sort of ship classes will there be? Will weapons be able to be customize by players, and how? 5) Will there be implementation of vanduul raids on major planets// zones? Will there be UEE Advocacy raids on high crime zones? 6) how do you plan on making each of the alien races different? Will it be AI stylizing? Or something else? 7) will we be allowed multiple characters per account? When can we expect more details on character creation, since I am assuming we will be able to create a character// make a place holder for the hanger module?
*SluttyYutty 5 points 2 days ago will they be programing a x64 bit client? his recent comment about the Ps4 kinda worries me since its running on a x86 processor i think. Really not looking forward to having x86 clients as the standard for another generation of games.
johnnwho 3 points 2 days ago I heard there will be 12 capital ships in the works with only the Bengal actually announced. Will one of those ships be a capital sized hauler/freighter? At aprox 24minutes in this video he talks about having the 12 capital ships. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZWaBnpSvUk
*Aeroshock 2 points 2 days ago This has probably been answered somewhere, but: How will the game handle planet surfaces? Will it be like Freelancer, where you 'dock' with the planet and undock when you leave, or will we be doing atmospheric entries? If it's the latter, how will gravity affect ship performance?
*kevtron27 3 points 2 days ago How will smuggling work? Like if someone had a bounty on their head (or an arrest warrant) and needed to cross some border, would hiding them in your ship require different modules? On borders, will there be different sovereign states with "border patrols"? Could states be player controlled?
*MarshallUberSwagga: Will it be possible to have multiple people owning a single ship? For example if me and some of my buddies all chipped in from separate accounts to buy a ship?
We're not sure on this. It could be some nice functionality for the bigger / more expensive ships that a group of people are needed to operate. Currently we haven't figured out a system to support this (as this is not simple - ask anyone who goes in with some friends to buy something in the real world!)
how will mining work?
We haven't figured out the full mechanics yet but I'm keen to have mining need a combination of exploration (scanning), skill (laser cutting) and logistics (hauling). I would like it to be fun, require people to work together in cooperation and not just be a time sink to earn money.
I got a question for you: Have you consider mini-games in Star Citizen? Such as Poker, Space Chess (Star Wars on board the falcon)?
Yes, we have. Currently they are on the "if we have time" category for the initial release. We will definitely roll out some mini games in the universe once w're live and the basic game systems are all working.
Hi Chris. On this week's Wingman's Hangar, we got to see a bit more about the start-up procedure for the Hornet. How much of the start-up procedure will be forced perspective and scripted? Will we have any direct control over starting our ships?
The final game - especially the Star Citizen part will be much less scripted. I think we'll have an auto mode where your avatar just goes through the check list for people that don't want to micro manage and then a "manual" mode that will allow people to start up the systems they want.
Not sure if this is something you've even considered this early on, but...
Will pistols be a valid choice of weapon for boarding actions, instead of just something to use when everything else is out of ammo?
Of course! And they're much more discrete!
Hey again, any news on the Hangar which is due for release in August or so? As far as I know I/we will be able to walk around outside and in the ship I've pledged for. Is there more than that (not that it wouldn't be enough)? Can we also sit in the cockpit?
That is correct. We'll release the Hangar in time for Gamescon and will be able to walk around outside and get into any of the ships you've pledged for (with the possible exception of the Idris, which may come a little later). Functionality that may not make it into the initial release but will be deployed over the subsequent months will be the ability to invite your friends to your hangar and the ability to set load outs / customize your ship. The ship items to do this will be limited at first but we'll be deploying them all the way up to the release of the dogfighting module and beyond
can we only invite friends who have pledged to the game?
Not decided yet. Could be cool to invite your friends that haven't pledged to check out your virtual ships so we'll consider that. Nothing like a show room floor to sell more ships! :-)
Chris, thank you for your time today.
My question is how you're going to handle sound in the game; ambient noises, sound effects, engine hum, the hum of computers and the electrics. As this is a space game and there's no sound in space, I think there should be a heavy emphasis on sound and how it's put into the ships to make them unique along with the ambiance and noises of different worlds/stations/locales.
There will be a heavy emphasis on ambiance and interior ship sounds. If you go to our "Ask the Devs" section in the forums on the RSI website Martin Galway will talk your ear off about his plans for this!
When will there be information or technicalities regarding creating own ships? The poly counts for example. I see a lot of people making ships already, putting down concept art and writing down their ideas of a ship. I can imagine they want to fly one of them in the long run. Nothing more great to see an idea come to life and actually controlling it.
We've still got a little more work to do in setting our own standards in regards to ship modeling / set up etc. We'll probably have this done in a few months and my plan was to release an example ship to the community with some guidelines and perhaps a design competition in the second half of this year.
Howdy Chris. I'm about one year from graduating with a BS in computer science so jobs have been on my mind. In relation to the gaming industry, with a degree like mine, what's the difficulty involved in getting into the industry, especially with no prior game development experience? Mind you, I am experienced as a programmer, just not in relation to games. :)
If you could share your experiences, that would be great.
I think just doing a couple of personal projects would help - build a small "indie" game (Unity is a great free tool), or work on some modding (the free CryEngine SDK or the Unreal Development Kit are both good ). When we hire (and this has always been the case at my past places) we look for potential a lot of times over a long resume. If you were self starting enough to build your own game - even if small with primitive graphics - that's more impressive than even a degree.
Will there be any customization of your character, not just your ship?
Things like varied outfits / gear, extensive character creation, and the like?
There will definitely be customization of your character and varied outfits / gear you can buy. It probably wont be as crazy as Eve's character creator (which is only really used for you avatar portrait so they can go crazy with the morphs) or the APB one but it will be fairly varied and very high quality!
Chris, congratulations on the opening of the LA office!
Many of us have or are planning on joining up with squads/corps/groups early. I was hoping SQ42 would be getting a release date ahead of Star Citizen, thus giving us a chance to complete the campaign and then be ready to start out in Star Citizen joining our fellow organized citizens/civilians from go. Currently I believe the plan is to release them at the same time which would hurt those ambitions as we would be segregated if we chose to play through the SQ42 campaign. Is this still the plan, and if so what are the current thoughts on tackling this issue for players?
If you're a backer you'll be able to play the alpha of Squadron 42 before the full persistent universe goes live.
Hi Chris! Do you have plans to make/license an official controller (perhaps HOTAS) for Star Citizen?
Star Citizen is a unique game where you'll need to switch between spaceship control and FPS control quickly. No current HOTAS or flight stick provides good FPS controls. Especially if you're playing with a Rift, it would be hard to feel around in the dark for a separate controller/KBM every time you want to get out of the pilot's seat!
We've been talking to quiet a few folks - nothing solid yet but I would say that there's a good chance there will be some Star Citizen specific peripherals int he future!
Will there be open world/asymmetrical PvP, perhaps depending on the security of the star system (akin to Eve's high security/low security/no security design)?
Yes, this is already in the design. You should read my post I did a while back on the subject http://www.robertsspaceindustries.com/chris-roberts-on-multiplayer-single-player-and-instancing/
wonderful to have you here again and sooo excited about all I am seeing from you and your team!
I was wondering about the speed limit and afterburner.
Say I hit afterburner and now am at 3 times max allowed speed. I assume I will slow down Wingcommander style.
Now my question is. Will that be some "special max speed drag" or will my forward facing thrusters fire and slow me down? Thus using fuel and as they have to face forward at least partially and can't extend max thrust to sides fully anymore thereby reduce my lateral maneuverability?
This is a good question! Right now we artificially limit the top cruise and afterburner speeds for play ability and precision issues (at too high speeds we would run into floating point precision and collision issues).
The current implementation has the flight control system try to bring your velocity into line of the current setting, so if you stop afterburning this top speed "goal" is reduced and so it will start firing retro thrusters to correct your velocity. Obviously this is using fuel and doing extra work, but there is no real drag in space so if we don't do this you lose the gameplay benefit of afterburners and fuel penalties that make it an interesting pro / con move.
Short story is that I need to think of something more nuanced than the Wing Commander design but I haven't come up with it yet!
thanks a lot for the answer :-) I actually like the thrusters doing the work and afterburner leaving you slightly more vulnerable afterwards. Pro/Cons always good to increase the skill set necessary.
If you don't mind the 201 question about it all:
I fly at max speed. I deactivate fly-by-wire. Tell my ship strave left. Now my total speed would be above max speed.
Will my ship slow me down in the direction of the first vector automatically, even though I disabled fly by wire?
Or will my ship refuse to strave left with a "you are at max speed" warning? And I have to manually reduce my speed in orginal vector first?
Maybe either/or configurable?
Another good question!
If you deactivate fly by wire there really isn't any telling your ship to "strafe" left. You could fire your side thrusters to impart a horizontal impulse but this would additive to your current velocity vector. Its the fly by wire systems that does all this balancing for you (firing retro thrusters to cancel out the previous velocity vector, firing side thrusters to push you sideways)
One other thing to remember is that G - forces on your avatars body will be a factor - so if you're operating outside of the fly by wire system you could quite easily impart dangerous or even deadly forces on your body of you're not careful (part of the pro/con of switching off the IFCS)
On the topic of floating-point precision, what effects does it have on the useful size of the battlespace, and how are you handling movement across solar-system scales?
We are using a combination of fixed and floating point for the solar system. Essentially the floating point will handle 4-16km square areas (well within the range of floating point) and fixed point for the area position...
Hi chris, I'm a huge Star Citizen fanatic and have been following very closely through everything (I even woke up at 6am and stayed up through the whole 24 hour live stream!)
Anyway, I was wondering what kind of things you have planned for Bounty hunters inside of Star Citizen?
Plenty! There will be some nice Bounty Hunter gameplay features from having to sleuth / track your bounty - perhaps bribe some people planet side for tips, tag your target, then follow him in space for the capture!
Is there any difference between LTI and in-game purchased insurance when it comes to very high risk level areas? For example, in some of the systems' descriptions it mentions that 'no insurance company will cover loss here', but I assume that doesn't apply to LTI. Otherwise you could lose your pledge ship forever because you were attacked by pirates, wrong place wrong time kind of thing.
The non insurance in very high risk areas only applies to the upgrade and cargo insurance policies and potentially the normal hull policies. LTI is good everywhere!
Thanks for doing this ama, I've got three questions for you.
- will there be any chance to walk around ships that are not your pledge ship? In a kind of showroom for example.
- Will there be a chance to take on passengers above the crew limit if there is room for them e.g. an empty cargo hold?
- How are you planning to handle the sound in space? Will it be true to reality or more in a hollywood style?
We plan to have a show room in the future - probably as an extension to the hangar or the planetside module.
Haven't decided yet - there will probably be an option to have a few more people than the max crew on the bigger ships (like the Constellation). It really depends on how many players we can handle in one instance - we don't want passengers taking all the bandwidth from other ships!
Hollywood style, with the possible option (tick box) or realism (i.e. no SFX when in exterior shots in space)
will there be a rollback after the beta ends? if so, will jumppoints or certain map elements shuffle? it would be boring if everyone starts from scratch and early backer know exactly where to search for jump points
I don't think there will be a roll back. The universe just moves on. Think of it more like the beta players get to be the first few lucky people in the universe. As we'll be constantly adding new content during Beta and after I wouldn't worry that all the stuff will be discovered during beta leaving no new stuff for people to discover.
My post from /r/starcitizen:
This game will be all about immersion, how will stealth and guile work out? Will players be able to shut down all nonessential systems of a ship and drift through the void to escape a pirate's scanners?
Will there be a complex system of identification and comm transmission hacking that allow you to disguise your ships' name, serial number, port of registry or owner?
Any thoughts or future plans would be great. Thanks
E: how will players learn new skills and trades if not in RPG fashion. Will tutorials and mini games like hacking or learning to trade/manufacture be a major component? Skills everyone can learn but will be hard to truly master.
Edit again: I payed a lot of money for my pledge. Once CI is up and running smoothly, will there be another round of cards? I don't want to be punished for not knowing about this game until after the deadline
Short answer on first two questions - Yes & yes! Long answer is that we're going to have a lot of different equipment packages that aid in the detection or suppression of signature (heat, hull signature, electro-magnetic, etc.). We will allow the players to really dig deep into this and micromanage if they want to rely on the ships computers to do the best they can (which will never be as good as a player tweaked set up)
We don't have a RPG skills progression system - its more about your equipment, how you set it up and your skill as an operator. There will be some vehicles you will need a specific license for (just like int he real world) and you'll have to pass a test to obtain to be allowed to fly them
On the citizen card set up I'm not sure whether we will ever do another run of customized cards as that's a huge logistical deal and is cost prohibitive for one offs (as the factory literally tools up for a run of tens of thousands). There is definitely the possibility of getting a blank one (i.e no name)
Currently there's a roundabout way for new backers to get ships with lifetime insurance. Since there's clearly a demand for it and it's already possible to obtain, any chance of opening lifetime insurance up to new backers who don't want to risk being scammed?
Check the RSI site later today! We'll be sharing the brochure for the Aurora and to celebrate we'll be doing a special week long "sale" of one of the Aurora models that will allow people to get LTI directly and an opportunity for the community to reach a fairly obtainable "stretch" goal that will make all backers until the new website goes online have LTI as a thank you.
Will the Hangar Module have Oculus Rift support?
That's the plan! Not sure if it will make the intial release (as we have a LOT to put in) but we've got the kits and are currently working with a preview in CryEngine right now...
Thanks for doing this man!
My question is when is the Corvette information going to be released? I heard is was going to be in April and today is literally the last Friday of the month for April, so are we going to see that information today or next week before April runs out?
I'm sorry, I think you got some bad intel! No date for the corvette yet... but Ryan Church (the man behind the Aurora and the Constellation) is currently building it.
Yes, Ryan Church is working on it right now and its looking really great! Its a way off before we can do the full reveal as we will also need to have the in engine model ready and it takes a while (you'll see the attention / work we put into this when you see the Aurora later today, which was also a Ryan Church design)
There has been some mention of a prison or slavery system, how do you envision this?
We didn't really think it would be fun to force other players to actually play the role of a slave for a long time so if you capture someone and sell them to slavery, the player gets to spawn back on their planet (fiction from their view point is that they managed an escape) and the capturing player has a cargo hold with a slave he can sell.
Prison would be similar - kind of like a brief time out that the imprisoned player would need to pay a bribe to "escape" or be let out on good behavior. If you don't have the money - don't worry the local official will "finance" it for you - but that will cost extra and they get mad if you don't pay them back!
Greetings from Russia, Chris. How in your opinion video games industry will change in next 10 years. Thanks.
Well I think you are going to see more projects like Star Citizen happen where the community and the developers interact at a much earlier level. Hardware and internet connections will of course get better but for me real revolution is that the barrier to entry to reaching an audience that previously had been controlled by the big publishers and retailers is rapidly going away, allowing many more types of games, which smaller but still valid fan bases to flourish.
I do think long term the hardware between a desktop, a laptop, a console, a set top box and a tablet / phone is going to blur. I think you'll have this incredibly powerful computing / communication device you'll carry around that you can play games on the go with, and when you walk into your living room will wirelessly connect to you 100 inch OLED screen and game controller, and when you enter your office will connect to your keyboard, mouse and computer monitor and will cover the functions that multiple devices to do today.
We've seen references to AI pilots and repair droids, but not full humanoid robots or the like. Will there be such things in SC, perhaps introduced later?
Haven't decided yet - I liked the balance in the original Star Wars films (ep IV-VI) - mostly humanoid and occasional robots for more menial stuff. The action / battles in the last 3 Star Wars films felt emotionally disconnected to me as it felt like everyone fighting was either a robot or a clone - what did I care if any of them died?
I think too many robots makes the universe less personal so we'll probably lean towards less than more
Assuming there is some sort of "auction house" in the game, how will it work? For example, if I'm in system "Y" and I purchase an item from system "X", is it automatically delivered to me or do I have to physically go there to pick up the item? How will these mechanics work?
You either have to physical travel to pick up the goods or pay someone (or have a friend do it for free) fly it to your location
@CommanderRoberts: Can you share some insight on the Reputation System in StarCitizen, would it have a hint of Virtues like in the Shroud of the Avatar / Ultima, or will it be more simple like in Freelancer?
much deeper than Freelancer - not sure it will be virtue based - it will be more about your relationships with a myriad of other races / groups / organizations in the Star Citizen universe.
When hacking/overclocking components for ships, will it also modify the sound of the component/connected component depending on the system modified?
For example if i overclock my graphics card i will typically have to have the fans running much faster and louder to compensate or else purchase advanced cooling options for the card or my entire PC if I plan to overclock my CPU/Motherboard/RAM as well. All of those things change how my PC sounds and makes it all truly mine.
I don't necessarily expect sub-component modding(though please don't let my doubts stop you!) but it seems fairly easy to make your system sounds change slightly the further it gets from "stock".
The possibility of advanced cooling systems for your whole ship that are independent of individual parts and have their own specs and ratings to perform optimally, while still performing the intended function of increased heat capacity or maybe lower EM noise, seems like it would be really awesome to add to the normal sounds changing.
Anyway the whole team has been great so far with all the interviews and details. I am still very excited to be an Imperator and Rear Admiral, and I can't wait to find time to visit Austin!
I think a lot of our ship systems will have sounds that will be modified by how hard they are working - just like a PC fan is a lot louder at high RPM the same would be true of our cooling units, and other systems that you can push beyond the recommended settings.
Howdie yet again Chris and Ben,
thanks for all the answers so far.
A couple of days I came across some homebrew RF based tracking solution that works room wide. Plus there is the Leap. That other one that failed on Kickstarter. Then Kinect, Razer Hydra...
Basically tracking is coming big time, increasing in accuracy and shriking in size and price.
In 2 years I would venture full body or at least main articulation points (wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knees, ankle) real time mocap can be had for 100-500$ depending on latency and accuracy.
Does the way you do character animation in the game allow for such fullbody mocap data to be fed into the engine and my char doing exactly what I am doing?
Not sure we will go that far but we are looking at tech that would allow us to drive your facial motions onto your avatar.
Chris, thanks for what you're doing. I've been waiting for this game since I first saw Star Wars as a kid.
Can you talk a bit about in-game advertising? Your opinion of it in general, and whether/how it will be implemented in Star Citizen?
Personally, I'm in favor of it being done tastefully and in a lore-consistent way, but I know it's a hot topic.
View HistoryShare Link